[for photographers] Shooting for the Album

Lately, I have been learning about being intentional as I shoot, even more so than just preparing for different poses and moods. I want to intentionally shoot for the products that I offer my clients.

I am primarily a portrait photographer. So… what products do I want my customers to buy? Do I want my ideal customer to purchase a canvas? An accordion book? An album? All of the above?

Today, I want to talk about shooting for an album.

I love the idea of selling albums or coffee table books to my portrait clients, especially for my seniors. It is such an awesome way to share the photos from the session and celebrate a time in the client’s life. It’s like a yearbook all about you 🙂

But… how do I shoot to make sure I get the best photos to make a kickin’ album?

1. Start with the establishing shot

I actually took film classes in college. I don’t know how I got away with taking film courses on my parents dime, but I did. And one of the first things they talk about is the establishing shot.

The establishing shot is your setting. When you are on a shoot, make sure that you grab some photos of the location, just the location, and every location you go to throughout the shoot.

These photos are the beginning of your story. When you are shooting for an album, you want to maximize the storytelling aspect, and that means starting with the setting.

 Speaking of story…

2. Always keep the story in mind

Think about the story you want to tell with your photographs. Talk to your client about the story that he or she wants to share. Shoot to capture this story.

You’re going to use everything you know about mood and posing to move this specific story along. You can also engage your client in action shots or lifestyle portraits to help communicate the story.

I know this is a little bit vague, but, basically, if all of your planning and thoughts go through the filter of the story you are trying to tell, you will end up with images that tell that story. Those storytelling images will make a perfect album!

3. Don’t forget the details!

Wedding photographers are so, so good at this one! But portrait photographers don’t think about it too often. Shoot the details of the shoot and your client.

If your client is wearing a fantastic piece of jewelry, shoot it. If you near a door with the coolest antique handle, shoot it. Flowers, shoes, coffee cups, whatever it is, shoot it.

All of these little details paint the picture of your day with your client, and your client will love seeing these little additions to the album. They are also a beautiful way to move the story along and move you from one location or action to another.

And let’s be honest, even your client will get bored with a 40 page album filled with pictures of just herself. She will enjoy it a lot more if all of those killer portraits are mixed in with some of the details and storytelling elements of the day.

*Bonus Tip*

I love it when things come in groups of three. It really is the magic number, and, tonight, I couldn’t bring myself to write four points. So… this is now the bonus tip 🙂

Try to capture inside jokes and humorous tidbits throughout your shoot!

These are album gold! Your client will absolutely love it if the album contains a few things to make her laugh. Emotions make amazing photographs. Give your clients amazing photographs that make them laugh, and give them an awesome album filled with all kinds of emotions!


P.S. Okay, wedding photographers, I’m calling you out! What did I forget? I would love to hear your tips for creating those gorgeous albums.

P.P.S. A big change and a big move is coming for my little photography business! I could be more excited about it, but I can’t tell you all of the details just yet. But… if you like following my blog and want to make sure you don’t miss anything, join the facebook fan page, otherwise you might get lost in the shuffle!